Author Archives: benraimer

Interesting Pursuit

Given the limited pot of money, unavailability of the Rainy Day Fund, and significant growth in the number of people needing state services, balancing the budget may seem impossible at times.  However, we have 181 dedicated Legislators and their staff working around the clock to accomplish this difficult task while ensuring the continued health and well-being of Texans.

 

So what happens?

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Correctional Health 101

Keeping pace with the rush of hearings, committee meetings, and sub-committee meetings, the UTMB team met with TDCJ, TYC, and other stakeholder groups for hearings before the House Appropriations Sub-Committee. The House Subcommittee on Corrections is charged with holding hearings on HB-1 funding recommendations for all correctional health care initiatives over the next biennium. 

Let me begin by saying that UTMB has no intention turning its [...]

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Fast Afoot

The pace is fast and frantic here at the Capitol.

The Senate has worked feverishly on the Governor’s “emergency” legislation agenda and so far has passed legislation on voter identification, the requirement of sonograms prior to abortions, sanctuary cities, and other items.

The Senate has begun hearings related to SB 1 (the Senate base budget).  Health and Human Services, the Texas Department of Criminal [...]

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Precipitation in Austin

The precipitation in Austin has been intense here of late.  With the introduction of the Legislative Budget Board’s budget guidance, the filing of the House’s budget in HB-1 and the Senate’s budget in SB-1, and now the introduction of the Governor’s Budget it seems to be “Raining Budgets.” And of course there have been plenty of reactions to those budget proposals, like that of UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and other university chancellors and presidents [...]

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The Big Chill

There was definitely a big chill in the air as Tom Seuhs, Executive Commissioner of the state’s Health and Human Services Commission, presented his services budget to the Senate Finance Committee. Suehs’ agency is so complex and diverse that its budget rivals the budget of most smaller states in the U.S.  With everything from Maternal and Child Health to the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), Suehs is constantly faced with trying to please (or appease) a variety of [...]

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Following the Bouncing Ball

As the budget deliberations progress in Austin, there are some provisions that we need to monitor closely because of their potential impact to UTMB:

General revenue base funding was reduced as follows:

10% reductions for formula funding for all the state’s health-related institutions
25% reduction for UTMB’s hospital and “special items” such as home dialysis, Area Health Education Centers, institutional enhancement, primary care and indigent care

No Tuition Revenue Bond debt service was included in the budget for any institution; one of UTMB’s priorities [...]

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Grandmother’s Insight

My grandmother used to say “Be careful what you ask for — because you just might get it!”

I imagine that is what many people are thinking at this moment. It is pretty easy to speak in political parables and tell other people what they ought to do, but to walk the talk is a bit harder. 

It is time to stop for a moment and critically assess just what the state government does that is worth continuing and what it does [...]

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Swearing in Austin!

There’s been a lot of it in Austin over the past couple of weeks.

First, the state watched as the Governor and Lt. Governor were “sworn” into office on the Capitol steps.  The inauguration events were scaled down this year as compared to prior events in deference to the economic issues facing the state.

The next “swearing” began just hours later when members of the House and the public got their first look at the Legislative Budget Board’s recommendations regarding the revenues [...]

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Doom and Gloom Galore! But hope still alive for a balanced budget!

The 82nd Legislative session got off to a somewhat gloomy start Tuesday.  After the budget projections issued on Monday by the Comptroller, the mood was not exactly bright.  As the reality sets in upon everyone, the work yet to be done in the next 139 days seems overwhelming.  Yet there was optimism among the members of both houses and affirmation of a desire to work out reasonable solutions to the economic issues that plague all states across the nation.

Rep. [...]

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The Dawning of the 82nd Legislative Session

The 82nd Legislature officially convenes itself for the next 140 days to conduct the people’s business today.  If the past 23 hours of political intrigue is any indication, the session will hold plenty of surprises and intrigue.  Texas Comptroller Susan Combs delivered a revenue estimate that took even the stout of heart by surprise predicting as much as $26.8 billion deficit.  A variety of pundits have weighed in over the day as the estimate undergoes additional analysis with some suggesting that the “real” [...]

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